Graduation Requirements for the MD Degree

Student Physician Activities (SPAs)

The Emory University School of Medicine Curriculum Committee has stated the outcomes of the MD program in terms of the activities characteristic of a physician that students will learn and do. These “Student Physician Activities” define what students should be able to perform prior to graduation.

  • Take a patient-centered history (focused and complete)
  • Perform a physical examination (standard and “core and cluster”) and recognize normal and abnormal findings
  • Demonstrate understanding of relevant scientific principles of medicine
  • Prioritize a differential diagnosis based on clinical reasoning
  • Develop a patient care plan
  • Perform technical procedures * (see Graduation Technical Procedures List)
  • Communicate with patients and their support system regarding their care
  • Participate in difficult conversations with patients and their families
  • Document and present patient findings and treatment plans
  • Explain the scientific principles of medicine as applied to differential diagnoses and patient care plans
  • Use electronic medical records
  • Formulate clinical questions and search the literature for evidence that enhances patient care
  • Contribute to generalizable medical knowledge
  • Apply best evidence to the care of individual patients
  • Recognize and address ethical dilemmas
  • Protect patient information
  • Fulfill the unique professional role of a physician in society
  • Manage time
  • Be a leader
  • Use feedback to improve one’s own practices
  • Demonstrate trustworthiness to patients, colleagues, and other healthcare personnel
  • Treat patients while understanding own biases
  • Treat patients without regard to personal advantage
  • Work in interprofessional teams
  • Identify personal limitations and seek assistance as needed
  • Teach peers and team members
  • Serve the community
  • Contribute to healthcare quality and safety initiatives

* Graduation Technical Procedures List

  • Adherence to universal precautions
  • Putting on gloves and gowns using sterile technique
  • Basic life support (as evidence by completion of a BLS course)
  • Use of an automatic external defibrillator
  • Drawing venous blood

Academic Requirements

The judgment of the faculty as to the fitness of a student for the MD degree is based not only upon scholastic achievement, but also upon evidence of the student’s character and professionalism. Each student must be approved for graduation by the Dean and the School of Medicine Council of Chairs.

To be eligible to receive the degree of Doctor of Medicine from Emory University School of Medicine, students must:

  • Have attained satisfactory standing in all courses and clerkships required for the degree and mastered the 28 Emory University School of Medicine SPAs;
  • Have taken and successfully passed Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge and Step 2 Clinical Skills of the USMLE;
  • Have completed all academic requirements of the MD degree within no more than six academic years from the date of matriculation.

Financial Obligations for Graduation

It is a requirement for graduation that all financial obligations to the University shall have been satisfied. Students with an unpaid balance on their student accounts may have a hold placed on their diploma and transcripts until the balance is paid in full.

Last modified: 7/28/2018

Download Handbook as PDF